"I've had veterans tell me firecrackers sound like a .22 and larger fireworks sound like a Howitzer," said Herman.For some reason, I found this vaguely insulting to veterans, but I can't put my finger on exactly why.
Heading into this weekend, Herman also has advice for vets who may be struggling.
"If you hear anything, if you smell anything, remind yourself, 'It's 2016. I'm in Indianapolis. I am safe. I'm not back there'," he said.
Ellis knows what it's like to remind himself of that, too, and accepts even if it does get better, there may always be some kind of struggle.
I was five when US involvement in Vietnam ended and seven when Saigon fell. Growing up, "veteran" meant "Vietnam veteran" unless we were talking about our grandparents. I thought the media stereotype of Vietnam veterans was pretty derogatory, but at least there wasn't this pityingly condescending note about it. Nobody was on the news telling us to not set off firecrackers out of concern for grandpa's memories of Bastogne or dad's flashbacks to the Ia Drang, at least not that I remember.